Saturday, November 21, 2009

12 Days of Christmas- The Best Present Ever!!

I declare we have discovered the best Christmas present ever! It doesn't take batteries, and doesn't need to be wound up! If you give it a try I am positive it is something you and your family may never forget!

Two years ago a friend mentioned she picks a family and does the 12 days of Christmas for them. I had never heard of it before, but loved the idea. She and her family would sneak around and drop off little gifts with a note that represented the 12 days of Christmas! We did it last year , and it was by far the best part of our Christmas!

Step 1- Pick a family or person who lives CLOSE! We picked a neighbor we didn't know. She was a widow and after praying about it we felt she was who we should bless. It is important the person lives close, especially if the kids are going to help. We did ours all hours of the night to make sure we didn't get caught.

Step 2- Plan out and purchase for your 12 days. Purchase and gather everything ahead of time! This will eliminate any last minute shopping. This really saved us last year because on day 3 I came down with the flu. I was bed ridden and could not participate, but since everything was ready Jody and the kids had no problems completing it. It also helped our delivery- if we were headed out we would just bring that nights "gifts" with us and do the drop off on our way back home. We called it "Ring and Run" minus the ringing:)!

Step 3- On December 13th the fun begins and continues until Christmas Eve. You have to dress up in all black, sneak through the neighborhood and drop off your little treats without getting caught....think military mission- Tyler, Madison and Jarred loved this part! It is important not to get caught.
(Disclaimer-The actual 12 days of Christmas begins on Christmas day, we do it leading up to Christmas day, it helped us remember the true meaning of Christmas during all the holiday madness)

We really had no idea how our neighbor felt about what we were doing. We didn't know her, our relationship consisted of saying hello and waving as she walked her dog. In October Tyler received a phone call from "her", she was having trouble walking her dog and wanted to know if he could help. Tyler began walking her dog 3 times a day, and has been ever since (a relationship only God could have ordained). About a month ago she asked Tyler if he was responsible for the "Secret Santa" gifts. We don't advocate lying in our house, but Tyler knew he couldn't tell our secret. He denied being involved, she went into detail about what happened and how much it blessed her "It may not have meant a lot to other people, but to an old person like me it meant the world."

So there it is....The best holiday gift our family has ever given or received! We included the christian meaning behind the song in ours:). The cost is pretty low but I truly think it will be one of those things our kids will remember and I hope to continue for many years to come.

Note- The person thinks they are going to find out who we are in the end, but we keep it a secret. We hope (if possible) they will try it themselves on a fellow neighbor, but our desire it to bless them and part of that is that they don't know who we are- it always makes it a lot of fun!
(The Initial Poem)

This Christmas season is so full of fun.
We’re happy to share with your family, then run.
How grateful we are that you’re playing our game.
You’ll now find that Christmas won’t be the same.

The song that we sing twelve days in a row
Won’t get tiresome with treats from friends you know.
But to keep up the mystery and the fun,
You won’t know who we are until we’re all done!

Each night we’ll bring something
Please don’t watch for us coming.
If you catch us too soon,
It will spoil the fun that’s coming!

Tonight calls for a partridge for your pear tree,
But partridges are tough catches, you see.
Now, how about some pears, instead of the bird.
They taste very good, or so we have heard.
[Basket of Pears or Canned Pears]

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

Did you know two turtle doves are
Extremely hard to find?
So here are Turtles ‘n Dove—
The chocolate candy kind!
[Turtle and Dove Candy]

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Hens are chickens
If they are French or not!
Here is chicken soup
To heat in a pot.
(Can of Chicken Soup)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

Four calling birds, we can’t pay the fare,
For all we have is a purse full of air.
As Christmas approaches, and calls you must make,
Don’t use these gold coins or the phone you may break.
[Gold chocolate coins]

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

Only five golden rings?
There really are more
Of gold pineapple rings
I got from the store.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

Six geese-a-laying– an interesting sight.
One of them squawked and they all took flight.
What they left in their nest, you’ll just have to look,
But with these you won’t want to cook.
[eggs, plastic swan cups with chocolate inside, chocolate eggs]

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

The 7th day of Christmas and we are half way done,
Remember no peeking or you’ll spoil the fun.
On this day of Christmas, how nice it would be,
If seven swans a swimming your family could see.
The pond was quite empty since the swans have gone further south,
We only found goldfish to put in your mouth.
[Goldfish crackers]

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

The maids were all milking,
Milk foaming like suds.
Quickly they all vanished
Leaving just "Milk Duds".
(box of Milk Duds)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

Nine ladies dancing would be too big a crowd,
Besides their music is way too loud.
We have for you Christmas songs,
That you can listen to all season long.
(A Christmas CD)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

Ten lords a leaping would be an awesome gift,
But they got stuck while jumping through a white snowdrift.
We had to be content, you see, to watch the popcorn fly.
So we’ve added a sweet topping to it for you to try.
[Caramel popcorn, popcorn toppings]

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

Those eleven pipers piping reminds us of our plumber,
To leave him on the doorstep would be a real bummer.
Now make your water piping hot, and fill your cups with care.
We’re giving you some hot chocolate we know you’ll love to share

We simply can’t believe this game is almost through.
We’ve had a jolly time bringing these gifts to you.
With only one more night, don’t you wish you knew,
Just exactly who we are and why we’re doing this for you?

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried. 5) On the third day he rose again from the dead. 6) He ascended into Heaven. 7)and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. 8) from thence He shall come to judge th living and the dead. 9) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 10) the one holy Christian Church, the fellowship of saints, 11) the forgiveness of sins, 12) the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

(Final Poem)
Christmas Eve has arrived, and on this our last night,
One dozen drummers would be a grand sight.
But the noise of their drums would hurt your head,
So eat all these cookies we bring you instead.
(Homemade Cookies)

The thing to now remember, if you’ve had lots of fun
When next December rolls around it's your turn to make the nightly runs.
Make sure you pick your family with tender, loving care
‘Cause its fun to get to spoil them at this special time of year.

And so we wish you a joyous Noel,
We know that you’re hoping our name we will tell.
But our name stays a secret, we just cannot share.
It wouldn’t be right, no it wouldn’t, so there!

Merry Christmas!